VIRGINIA CONNECTIONS ON BELMONT STAKES DAY

Charitable Man won’t be the only Virginia-bred horse or the only horse with Virginia connections running at Belmont Park on Saturday.

In the second race, a non-winner other than $55,000 allowance. Virginia-bred Just Ben is the third favorite. Trained by Nick Zito and owned by Zayat Stables, Just Ben was bred by Audley Farm.

Another Audley Virginia-bred Sixthirteen will take a shot at the $250,000 True North Handicap Gr.2 for New York-based owner Barry K. Swartz.

The field for the wide open $300,000 Acorn Stakes Gr. 1 will include Virginia-bred Casanova Move (pictured) and Kentucky-bred Funny Moon. Casanova Move was bred by and races for Edward P. Evans of Charitable Man and Quality Road renown, while Funny Moon is owned by Mrs. C. W. “Carter” McNeely of Charlottesville.

Casanova Move has done everything except win a stake in 2009. She was fourth in the Old Hat Stakes Gr. 3 in her seasonal debut at Gulfstream, and second in the Davona Dale Gr. 2 and Bonnie Miss Gr.3 also at the Florida track. In her last start, Casanova Move was third in the Black-Eyed Susan Gr. 2 at Pimlico. She is trained by Jimmy Jerkens who also conditions Quality Road for Evans. Casanova Move is by Langfuhr, out of Casanova Junction by Pleasant Colony.

Funny Moon was a $175,000 Saratoga yearling and she hasn’t done anything wrong to date. She was second in her debut at Gulfstream Park before breaking her maiden next time out at the Hallandale, FL track. At Belmont, she then won a $45,000 allowance race easily by three lengths. This will be here first attempt in stakes company for trainer Christophe Clement.

Hard knocking Sixthirteen has finished out of the money just once in nine starts. He’s won $146,780 with three wins, three seconds and two thirds – all in allowance company. The step up to graded stakes company is a big move for the five-year-old by Dixie Union, out of Mandy’s Classic.

Last year’s $750,000 Virginia Derby Gr.2 winner Gio Ponti will try the $400,000 Manhattan Stakes Gr.1 on the turf. Also in the field is Breeders Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now owned by the Virginia-based Bushwood Stables and 2008 Virginia Derby runner-up Court Vision.

I Lost My Choo (pictured), winner of the 2008 Virginia Oaks, is running in the $400,000 Just A Game Stakes Gr.1 also on the turf.

In the last race of the day, Virginia-bred Wirebuster takes on eleven others in a $25,000 claiming race. Wirebuster was bred by Donna Hayes.